Patent application title: SYSTEM FOR MANUFACTURING FACETS FOR HELIOSTATS
Francisco Ceron Garcia (Sevilla, ES)
Valerio Fernandez Quero (Sevilla, ES)
Antonio Esteban Garmendia (Sevilla, ES)
ABENGOA SOLAR NEW TECHNOLOGIES, S.A.
IPC8 Class: AB23P1100FI
Class name: Metal working method of mechanical manufacture assembling or joining
Publication date: 2012-06-14
Patent application number: 20120144651
System for manufacturing facets comprising a frame, a series of mirrors
and multiple securing parts in which said parts are the key to the
invention and are formed by a rod and a circular metal sheet provided
with a series of small circular perforations, where the rod and the
circular sheet are attached by electric arc welding or any other means
that ensures an equivalent fixation and the purpose of which is to secure
a curved mirror to the rear structure or frame of a heliostat, thereby
forming the so-called facet.
1. System for manufacturing facets for heliostats of those comprising a
series of mirrors and a frame that are attached to a structure that could
have or not a solar tracker wherein the attachment between the mirrors
and the frame to form the so-called facet is carried out using several
securing parts formed by a rod and a circular metal sheet having a series
of small circular perforations attached by electric arc welding or any
other means that ensures an equivalent fixation, wherein the rod of said
securing parts has a small quick nut-type securing that has certain
flexibility and the purpose of which is to secure a curved mirror to the
rear structure or frame of a heliostat.
2. Procedure for manufacturing facets for heliostats using the system described in claim 1 comprising the following stages: Screwing the securing parts to the frame Impregnating the perforated metal sheet (8) of the securing parts with silicone or equivalent adhesive Provisionally attaching the mirror to the frame through the parts impregnated with silicone, forming the facet Placing the facet face-down on a vacuum forming table Placing a series of separators between the frame and the mirror Loosening the screws of the fixation system Making a vacuum in the forming table thereby achieving acquiring the desired radius of curvature of the mirror Screwing the securing system linking mirror and frame Removing the separators And finally removing the vacuum of the forming table to be able to remove the facet.
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention describes a fixation system of mirrors to a structure or frame that will be later mounted on heliostats used in concentration solar thermal plants.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The general principle of solar thermal technology is based on the concept of concentration of solar radiation to heat a heat transfer fluid and generate electricity.
 Solar energy collection and its concentration is one of the greatest challenges in the development of solar thermal plants. There are mainly two types of technologies of concentrators: spot concentration and linear concentration. Linear concentration is easier to install because it has fewer degrees of freedom, but it has a lower concentration factor and can therefore reach lower temperatures than spot concentration technology.
 Within spot concentrators, parabolic disc concentrators and the tower or central receiver power plants can be distinguished. Within the linear technology, there are the Parabolic Cylinder Concentrators (PCC) and the new Fresnel-type Linear Concentrators (FLC).
 Both the central receiver power plants and the FLC require a field of heliostats to capture and concentrate solar power.
 A heliostat consists of a panel with a surface of 40 to 120 m2 consisting of a set of mirrors that are on a frame. Each mirror unit with its frame unit is called a facet. The set of all these facets is what will be later mounted on the mobile structure of the heliostat (trusses, arms and actuation).
 Usually, this structure has solar tracking by two movements, azimuthal and elevation so that the reflected rays reach at all times a focal point located at the top of a tower in which the receiver is located. A heat transfer fluid circulates through the receiver from which electrical energy will be produced.
 To concentrate solar radiation these reflecting mirrors are slightly curved, being the radius of curvature one of the critical optical characteristics in the manufacture of the same, because in order to direct sunlight correctly to the receiver is required a great precision.
 According to the distance to which the receiver is placed, mirrors have a certain curvature. To achieve the highest performance possible, the curvature parameters of the mirror surface must be respected as closely as possible.
 It is of vital importance to develop resistant, reliable heliostats with high optical quality and at a low cost to achieve a feasible solar thermal plant, since the heliostat field is responsible for approximately half of the total cost of these power plants.
 That is why there is a tendency to manufacture heliostats of large surface area and mass production, to be able to reduce the manufacturing costs to the maximum.
 Thereby, any system or invention that achieves simplifying the assembly and manufacture of these mirrors, as well as increasing its strength and reliability, entails a very important progress for this type of technology.
 One of the manufacturing systems of facets that has been used until now consists of binding with adhesive a mirror to a carrier construction. This is, taking the flat mirror and placing it on a carrier surface that has the desired curvature. Spread adhesive and place an outer annular frame or some form of fixation that will remain until the adhesive hardens. If the curvature to which the mirror has to be subjected is very sharp, thermal forming procedures are used in addition.
 This solution is very expensive because the carrier structure must meet the exact requirements of precision outlined above.
 An alternative to try to reduce costs that is known is the manufacture of a mirror without such precision and carrying out the precision adjustment subsequently (CA2237882A1). Therefore defining in the carrier structure the different points where the adjustment screws will be introduced is necessary. This procedure needs a high quality of the materials used in the carrier structure as well as employing specialized personnel for the adjustment.
 Therefore, the present invention is intended to provide a procedure for the manufacture of facets and more specifically developing a securing system of mirrors to the structure that facilitates the assembly of the same, does not entail loss of precision improving their properties and allows a low-cost mass production.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 The invention consists of a system for securing mirrors to a frame that will be later mounted on the heliostat. The set of mirror and frame will form the heliostat facets.
 This system, in contrast to the known state of the art, does not use the securing of the mirror by adhesive or screws to a carrier structure that has the preset curve, but it consists of securing the mirrors directly to a frame, using a type of securing parts that will be described below and that are the key to achieve the securing of a curved mirror to its structure, achieving to maintain a radius of curvature extremely precise in the mirror and without using a carrier structure with the preset curvature, as it had been used so far in the previously discussed methods.
 The parts used to carry out this attachment are composed of a rod with a small quick nut-type securing that has certain flexibility such that the mirror won't break, this rod being welded to a circle of perforated sheet.
 This circle is fixed through silicone to the mirror, which silicone will flow over the perforations in the sheet.
 Thanks to the circular shape of the sheet, a better distribution of the efforts than using fixations in any other way is achieved.
 Silicone is used for its elasticity as it helps to avoid tensions in the mirror that could produce the rupture of this. At the same time it achieves compensating the required accuracy tolerances, also thanks to its flexibility.
 To this is added the use of an anti-corrosion protection surface treatment for all metal components of the described fixations which prevents the oxidation of the same in the field.
 This securing procedure has managed to reduce the cost of the facets in 10 times its value.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 To complete the description that is being carried out and in order to help to a better understanding of the invention, it is accompanied by a set of drawings where with illustrative and not limiting character, the following has been represented:
 FIG. 1: Scheme of a heliostat
 FIG. 2: Scheme of a facet (mirror attached to the frame)
 FIG. 3: Securing part. Elevational view.
 FIG. 4: Securing part. Plant view.
PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
 To achieve a better understanding of the invention, the procedure for mounting the facets to the structure of the heliostat will be described next, according to a preferred embodiment.
 In the first place and as seen in FIG. 1, we see that a heliostat (1) of the type that we will describe in the preferred embodiment, has an area of approximately 121 m2 and consists of 28 facets (2). The set of facets (2) is placed on a structure (3) (arms plus pedestal) that usually performs two movements to achieve solar tracking and thus being able to carry out the necessary pointing control in each case. The set of facets (2) and structure (3) forms the heliostat (1).
 In FIG. 2 the scheme of a facet (2) is depicted. This is composed of a mirror (4) attached to a frame (5) through a series of securing parts (6) described below and that are the key to the invention.
 Thus, the invention consists of placing the mirrors (4) on the frame (5) to produce the facets (2). Once the facets (2) are manufactured, the mounting on the structure (3) of arms plus pedestal could be carried out and the heliostat (1) will be finished.
 The securing parts (6), which are the main element of the invention, are shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.
 These parts (6) comprise a rod (7) and a circular metal sheet (8). That sheet has a series of small circular perforations (9).
 The attachment between the rod (7) and the perforated metal sheet (8) will be done through electric arc welding (10) or other means that ensure the same firmness.
 The following describes the procedure for manufacturing the facets (2), which comprises the following stages:
1. Screwing the securing parts (6) to the frame (5) 2. Impregnating the perforated metal sheet (8) of the securing parts with silicone or equivalent adhesive (6) 3. Provisionally attaching the mirror (4) to the frame (5) through the parts impregnated with silicone, forming the facet (2) 4. Placing the facet (2) face-down on a vacuum forming table 5. Placing a series of separators between the frame (5) and the mirror (4) 6. Loosening the screws of the fixation system (6) 7. Making a vacuum in the forming table thereby achieving acquiring the desired radius of curvature of the mirror (4) 8. Screwing the securing system (6) linking mirror (4) and frame (5) 9. Removing the separators 10. And finally removing the vacuum of the forming table to be able to remove the facet (2).
 In this way the mirror (4) being fixed to the frame (5) with the appropriate curvature is achieved and it can be mounted on the structure (3) to finish the heliostat (1).
 In addition to the previously highlighted advantages such as reliability, flexibility and low cost, it should be added the speed of the manufacture of the facet, as described in the procedure and the fact of requiring a single frame for any curve that you want to give to the mirror.
 This attachment system is especially designed for application in the manufacture of facets for heliostats for solar concentration plants, but does not preclude its extension to other fields of industry that require assemblies with similar characteristics.
Patent applications by Valerio Fernandez Quero, Sevilla ES
Patent applications by ABENGOA SOLAR NEW TECHNOLOGIES, S.A.
Patent applications in class Assembling or joining
Patent applications in all subclasses Assembling or joining